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University Writing Standards

The University Writing Committee has established the following standards for assessing student writing at Roosevelt:

A student's written work serves both to communicate what he or she has learned and to enable the student to investigate academic issues more thoroughly than would otherwise be possible. To serve these two aims, a student's writing should be clear, organized, and purposeful. Only when a student's writing clearly articulates a meaningful position can the readers of that writing be confident that the writer has an adequate grasp of the intellectual content. Faculty will assess the student's ability to convey ideas successfully according to the following checklist:

1. Purpose -- The student's writing

  • addresses the terms of the assignment
  • clearly articulates the aim of the performance
  • presents the ideas logically, signaling the relation of parts to the whole
  • provides examples or other supporting illustrations.

2. Internal consistency--The ideas are structured in paragraphs that are

  • coherent, with a definite topic to which all sentences are relevant
  • logically ordered, developing continuity from idea to idea within
  • free of unnecessary repetition

3. Expressive precision--Sentences conform to conventions of standard edited English, utilizing

  • complete and appropriate predication
  • appropriate coordination, subordination, and parallelism
  • accurate pronoun reference and controlled modification of terms
  • diction that is precise, idiomatically appropriate, and economical.

4. Mechanical conventions--The writing correctly employs

  • punctuation to indicate the discrete structure of the ideas
  • possessives, capitalization, spelling
  • formatting conventions as designated by the assignments in the course.

While students are expected to strive for mastery at all levels, the complexity of the act of writing warrants weighting the earlier categories more than later ones. For example, perfect spelling and punctuation will not outweigh pointlessness or incoherence, whereas a focused and articulate performance may earn credit despite the interference of an occasional mechanical flaw. Still, excessive difficulties with any one category will be grounds for failure.